Although it is rare to have a matching strain of bacteria last for many years, as is the case with this recall, James E. Rogers, PhD, director of food safety testing and acting director of product testing at CR, says that Listeria is an abundant pathogen and once it enters a facility, “it’s really difficult to get rid of.”
An FDA spokesperson told CR that listeria can easily spread from contaminated equipment or surfaces to food and, if the source of contamination is not identified, can persist for many years, continue to spread to food and make people sick. .
For most people with listeriosis, the infection caused by listeria, although unpleasant, is likely to resolve on its own. He symptomsSymptoms, which include fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, may begin just hours after eating contaminated food or up to two weeks later.
But for 1 in 20 people, the infection can become more severe and develop into an invasive illness with flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches and a stiff neck, according to the CDC. Other symptoms may include confusion, loss of balance, and seizures. The CDC estimates that 1,600 people get listeriosis each year and about 260 die.